Some colleagues and I were in Fresno California for a social media training session with 71 fantastic farmers on December 13th. The next day, we got the opportunity to travel around the farmland around Fresno and learn about some of the crops grown in the area.
Our tour guide for the day was Mandy Critchley, a farmer and fellow marketer in the Fresno area. She lined up a jam packed day of farm tours that…well…blew my mind. On our tour, we visited SunWest Fruit Company, Sun-Sweet Growers, Mandy’s Blueberry farm, Summerhill Dairy, Bari Olive Oil and Double E Farms.
To say the day was educational is an understatement. It’s amazing what you can learn about farming and farming practices when you take some time to talk to a farmer about it. They are so inspirationally passionate about what they do. Truly an inspiring day.
15 Things I Learned About California Agriculture
• Fresh California Cura Cura oranges are a slice of heaven.
• Oranges can stay on the tree for months without going bad.
• Dried on vine or DOV raisins have no additives or coatings. (Sun-Maid)
• Goats getting milked 2 times per day only produce 3-4 gallons of milk per day.
• Goat milk is very similar to breast milk.
• While it has lactose, goat milk has a different form of lactose which is typically ok for people that normally can’t have milk. (see your doctor first )
• Different goats have a different milk makeup. Saanens have high milk volume, Nubian has high butter fat.
• One acre of California olives produces 30-42 gallons of extra virgin olive oil.
• Olives for extra virgin olive oil must be processed within 24 hours of picking.
• Only 1% of the olive oil consumed in the United States is grown in California. (and it is fantastic)
• Canopy control for almonds is important. More light, more almonds.
• The way you canopy grapes is very different for raisin grapes, table grapes and wine grapes. (Not totally sure why, can anyone tell me?)
• It takes at least 2 ½ bee hives per acre of almonds for pollination.
• There are 120 almond trees per acre. (at least on Double E Farms)
• It takes 5-7 years after planting a walnut tree to get a crop.
Countless things did not make the list. It was a day which ended up in information overload to say the least. The facts are great, but I’d say my biggest takeaway of the day was the passion and pride each and every farmer we talked to had about their farm or ranch. They love the land, they love the tradition and take tremendous pride in what they do. I have more and more respect for farmers, the tough business decisions they have to make, and the agriculture industry every time I get to experience a day like this.
Josh Lysne is the Director of Digital Strategy for AdFarm. Follow him on Twitter @jlysne.